‘I love this. This time, right now, right here. I can write about what has been part of my life and it is ok! People are reading these stories and they are cheering not recoiling or shushing! So here it is… ‘A guest blog by the British holistic practitioner Melonie Syrett.
I watched a video about birth once in a darkened room. Then I was given some tampons.
Fast forward a few years and I used to wish I would never, ever have a period. Most of the girls in my year were already bleeding and I was so late (or so I thought) at age 14.
Then one day I went to the toilet. There was a thin, dark, red line in my pants. I sat there and shouted for my mum. It was a difficult time: there were no pads in the house and I thought I had come on a year before so I was asked whether ‘it was real this time.’ I felt ashamed. I felt like an inconvenience. I felt like I wanted a hole to appear and swallow me up whilst mum went to the shops to spend her money on my inconvenience. They were thrown at me and nothing else was said.
They were always painful. Once, on the way to secondary school, I sat on the kerb and cried. I couldn’t move. They were always heavy. I have lost count of how many bedsheets, pants and jeans that had to be binned or boiled because of the crimson tide that had washed up on them. I went to the doctor a few times and got tablets.
This was my period story. Painful, heavy and a pain in the vagina: month, after month, after month.
Then one day, when I was 27, I went to work. I got there and the pain began to rise. But it didn’t stop rising. It became stronger and stronger and became searing and constant and hell! I was having a miscarriage, I must have been. I mean we had used protection but this wasn’t like any pain I’d ever had. Work called my mum. Both Mum and Dad took me to the hospital. We were all very worried.
A few questions and pokes and two little pills and ‘it’s just period pain’ and I was discharged.
The pills worked. Nothing more was said.
Six months later it happened again. Hospital again. Pills again. ‘It’s just period pain,’ AGAIN.
The next time I didn’t go to hospital. I writhed around trying to find solace from the pain. Nothing worked. I moaned and groaned and cried. Two hours it lasted. It happened like that every few periods. Two hours of the most debilitating pain that, when it finished, left me exhausted and wiped out for a whole day.
I went to the doctors ‘was it Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS)?’
‘You are overweight. Lose some weight.’ (In a long diatribe)
Oh thanks. Way to make me feel crap and not focus on my issue here at all. Thanks Mrs Poor Bedside Manner. I stopped trying to seek help.
Now this was my period story.
The length of time it went on for began to increase. It began to be each month for eight hours. I was sick with the pain. The pain followed nerve pathways into the back of my ribs and down my legs. The contraction-like feeling took over my whole body and I just could not cope anymore. I slept for hours afterwards.
If it happened at work I’d be a mess in the toilet and have to be taxied home. I couldn’t plan any activities when I was due on. I hated my body for doing this to me. I hated my periods. I wanted a hysterectomy. I wanted it all gone.
At aged 33, I cracked, after my boyfriend gave me an ultimatums. ‘You just cannot continue to live like this’.
I booked an appointment and requested a female doctor. I had been reading up. I had found out about endometriosis. I thought it sounded familiar. I wrote down all my symptoms, thoughts and questions. I wouldn’t be battered for my weight. I wanted answers and tests and… something!
Turns out there are angels in this world. My doctor was sympathetic and gave me hope from the start. She organised tests for PCOS. Negative. Then she referred me to a specialist gynaecological unit. Here they took copious notes and asked many questions. They did an ultrasound to find out about my womb. Nothing untoward was found.
Ok. So what than? It looked like endometriosis. It’s incurable. Management – the coil or the pill. I took the pill. I had to lose weight for a laparoscopy where they would go in through my navel and look for any endometrium lining growing outside of my womb. (That which is shed monthly through the vagina that and found it’s way outside of the womb and onto the fallopian tubes, ovaries, bladder etc.) They might find some or not and if they did, they would remove it. But it didn’t matter; there was no cure. It would come back. I would have pain during sex forever. I would have to take time off from work each month and spednd the day in excrutiating pain.
I went on the pill. For 18 months I had no periods and no pain.
Sadly, also I had no interest in sex, no emotions, no fire, no vibrancy, no nothing. My cycles had flatlined.
Meanwhile, I went to a Heal the Womb retreat. I learned that my cycles change my moods and that on some days I am really productive while on others I need to curl up and rest. I don’t have to go, go, go like our society demands. I learned about abdominal massage and castor oil packs. I learned to connect to my womb and realised that I had never really taken any notice of the parts of body between my boobs and thighs. I didn’t like that space. I carry my weight there in a big apron and I just had disconnected from that part of me. I also learned that I resented my mother for what happened on that first period and that it made me so upset thinking about it. I learned that I hated my periods. I directed a lot of shit to that area of my body.
I left knowing more than I ever had about how to connect with my body, my cycles and my periods. I learnt tolet go of the shame, anger, inconvenience and sadness that I felt about my monthly cycles.
I learnt to question wheter or not my emotional needs were being met, if I was in any kind of competition in my life, and if I was being nurtured the way I wanted to be.
I started soaking up knowledge and began a series of self-care routines.
Massage, yoni steams, castor oil packs and heat packs. I became mindful of my abdominal area; connecting to my womb, vagina, vulva, ovaries and fallopian tubes… I began to think about my body…and then I came off of the pill.
The first period was very heavy and with the normal pain I was used to. I was ecstatic: I loved this period!
Then I gave up caffeine and dairy. I started taking magnesium and selenium supplements, B vitamins and probiotics.
The next period was so light and so little pain came. Less than I had ever had, ever. The next was normal and the next.
So…what does this mean? Well, this is now my period story. I chart my periods, I listen to my body and rest when I need to. I welcome my blood. I use reusable pads and enjoy bleeding. I love the wonder of what my body is doing, the magic of it all. I started a Red Tent where we talk freely about our blood. I sing songs about it and give some of it back to the earth. I still use the castor oil and heat packs, yoni steams and abdominal massages. I still follow the dietary changes I made. I love my periods. I welcome my blood.
I love my period story. And you should love yours too.
This guest blog is written by Melonie Syrett, holistic practitioner and founder of One Love Energy Healing in South London. She is specialised in Reiki, Indian Head Massage, Shamanic and Crystal Healing and more. ‘And of course I’m still learning.’ oneloveenergyhealing.wix.com
Dear Period!, by Yayeri van Baarsen
Me & My Cycle, by Mariette Reineke
Period changes and chemotherapy, by Cruz Santana
A time for celebration, by Robyn Jones
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